Busy men might want to consider sitting down when they pee — not because it’s one of the few moments of the day they can rest, but because it might be better for them. For older men with prostate problems, in particular, sitting down to urinate could help them empty their bladders more effectively and reduce the risks of cysts and other health complications.
“Men may start peeing sitting if their prostates are large and they need to help relax the pelvic muscles in an effort to help push the urine out,” says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., a urologist and professor at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes an enlarged prostate gland, or benign prostate hypertrophy. But the likelihood of having one increases with age. Hormones have something to do with it, as men who had their testicles removed at a young age due to cancer do not have these problems, research shows. And when men with enlarged prostates have their testicles removed, their prostates tend to shrink.
The good news is that an enlarged prostate is thought to be a natural part of aging and not necessarily a precursor to prostate cancer. The bad news? All that pressure from the prostate can increase the risk of bladder cysts, infections, and discomfort or difficulty while urinating. But when men with enlarged prostates pee sitting down, studies suggest they’re able to empty their bladders more quickly and effectively, which can reduce some of these problems.
Still, once your prostate is so troublesome that you’re sitting down just to pee effectively, you’re probably overdue for an appointment with your urologist. “It should be a reason to talk to your doctor or urologist about medical or surgical options,” Brahmbhatt says. This is especially the case if you’re under the age of 50. Young men shouldn’t be experiencing age-related prostate enlargement or trouble peeing. If you’re noticing changes in stream, or blood in your urine, seek immediate medical attention.
For younger, healthy men, sitting to pee probably won’t provide any benefit to their prostates one way or another. But it still might be a more hygienic option. Physicists have found that peeing standing up significantly increases the velocity of the stream and potential for backsplash, amounting to less hygienic, more bacteria-filled bathrooms. So if dads aren’t going to pee sitting down for their prostates, they can do it for their partners. It will be good practice for their 50th birthdays.
“There are men that have bad aim and can soak the toilet with splatters of urine,” Brahmbhatt says. “Sitting and urinating on the toilet does increase your odds of making sure the urine is actually going down the drain.”